porcelain pharmacy jar

Porcelain Pharmacy Jar

porcelain accessories

pharmacy jar details hand painted pharmacy jar

These porcelain pharmacy jar reproductions are hand painted by skilled artists in the style of the 18th C. originals. The only difference is that our porcelain, which is stronger and more durable than the original stoneware pots

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porcelain pharmacy jar
porcelain pharmacy jar
porcelain tobacco jar
porcelain tobacco jar

Porcelain Pharmacy Jars

Renaissance pharmacists were specialists in the lore and science of herbs and traditional healing. Pharmacies sold a variety of drugs following recipes written in pharmacopoeias*, with specifications approved by city authorities. Centuries ago pharmacies were lined with shelves displaying ‘Delft’ hand painted faïence porcelain pots, vases, bowls and boxes. The raw materials for making medicines were stored in porcelain apothecary jars.

Typically made of glazed pottery with decorative blue artwork, these jars came in a variety of shapes and sizes. The first letter on each jar was a code for the form of its solid or liquid contents:
“A” indicated “aqua,” or water
“O” indicated “oleum,” or oil
“U” indicated “unguentum,” or ointment
“C” indicated “conserva,” or preserves
“S” or “Si” indicated “syrupus,” or syrup
“P” indicated “piulae,” or pills
“T” indicated “trochisci,” or tablets
“E” indicated “electuarium,” or mixture
“B” indicated “balsamum,” or balm
“R” indicated “rob,” a type of jelly

The remainder of the description was usually in abbreviated Latin form, such as U.ALTH.SIMP for ungenteum altheae simplex, an ointment made from marshmallow.

Pharmacy jars combine the craftsmanship of the potter with the practicality of the pharmacist. The city of Delft in North Holland attempted to imitate Chinese porcelain in order to make these jars. This imitation porcelain, Delft blue, has become a household word, not only for medicinal purposes, but for a wide range of pottery. Made of stoneware pottery, hardly any survived the ages unscathed. Most original antique apothecary jars which survived the centuries are now part of museum and scientific collections. Their beauty and historical and scientific significance has attracted collectors to these intriguing examples of Renaissance pottery art.